Thursday, 27 March 2014

The Colour Collaborative: March - Bud


"Vague as fog and looked for like mail...snug as a bud and at home like a sprat in a pickle jug."
Extract taken from You're by Sylvia Plath.

I don't think any season is awaited with such eagerness, with such a sense of expectancy and anticipation, than spring. 

Summer arrives, sometimes early, sometimes late, (or sometimes not at all, this is the UK) and it morphs in autumn, and then before we know it winter is upon us. But I don't declare "It's autumn!" or "Winter is finally here!" with quite same delight as I do spring. That first warm weekend in March which has me out in the garden, inspecting borders and planting seeds; the satisfaction in seeing the bulbs planted in autumn poking their green shoots upwards; the gentle, tentative warmth of the sun; the joy of snipping the first tulips to bring indoors and put in a jug; £1 bunches of daffodils in the supermarkets; the ever-lightening afternoons and evenings...there is much to celebrate and be thankful for at this time of year.

When we agreed that "bud" would be our prompt for this month's Colour Collaborative post, the first thing to pop into my head was the poem You're by Sylvia Plath. For those that don't know it, it's about pregnancy and Plath's feelings towards her unborn child. It's one of my absolute favourite poems, capturing the wonder and mystery of waiting for a new arrival, those feelings of at once knowing but not knowing the baby growing inside you. Of course there are many parallels between spring, pregnancy and birth; Easter, new life, eggs, buds, lambs, growth. Those feelings of waiting and anticipation that spring provokes remind me of expecting my own babies. Waiting, waiting (mine were both two weeks overdue, we did a lot of waiting), looking for signs. Now? Today? No, not today. Not knowing exactly when they would come but knowing that they would, at some point. Planning, preparing, readying ourselves. It's like the slow approach of spring. A glance out of the window shows sun and blue sky, surely spring is here now. But I open the front door and then go back for my coat, hat and scarf. The wind is cold. No, not today, it's still winter. But it will be spring at some point, we know it will.


Two years ago I planted a camellia in our back garden. It produced nothing during it's first year. And, to my huge disappointment, it produced nothing last year either. This year, I was hopeful. I was expectant. And, so far, I have counted ten fat, pink buds. Ten! When I happened to glance out of the window last week and see that the first had unfurled and opened, I gasped (even though I was on my own, what a weirdo) and then straightaway took a photo on my phone to send to my mum, who planted it with me.


The buds are pale and creamy to begin with and it's hard to guess what their true shade will be. The blooms look different depending on the light and time of day; sometimes pastel and rosy, other times deep-hued and glowing. They carry a graduating ombre of pinks from the bold, raspberry centres to the blanched, delicate, fading edges of the petals. The flowers pop out against the dark green leaves and grey dry-stone wall, providing a welcome burst of colour in an otherwise drab garden, and a reminder that spring always comes. Eventually.



What is The Colour Collaborative? 


All creative bloggers make stuff, gather stuff, shape stuff, and share stuff. Mostly they work on their own, but what happens when a group of them work together? Is a creative collaboration greater than the sum of its parts? We think so and we hope you will too. We'll each be offering our own monthly take on a colour related theme, and hoping that in combination our ideas will encourage us, and perhaps you, to think about colour in new ways.

If you'd like to read posts by the other Colour Collaborative bloggers, please follow the links below:

Annie at Knitsofacto
Sandra at Cherry Heart
Jennifer at Thistlebear
Claire at Above The River

And this month we are also joined by the lovely Sarah at Mitenska. Please do pop over and read, say hello if you like!




29 comments:

Joy said...

A beautiful post, Gillian, on expectancy and new life, as well as uncertainty and trust. And colour! Beautiful colour! You have a gorgeous camellia there - long may it bloom and bring you much pleasure! Joy xo

CJ said...

What lovely words Gillian, you have captured the budding of everything so beautifully. Camellias are some of my favourite plants, those buds are so perfectly round, and the flowers are so exotic, especially at this time of year. Love, love, love them.

Marion Ogden said...

Another beautiful post with beautiful photos--a real pleasure to read.
Have a lovely weekend!
Marion x

Sandra (Cherry Heart) said...

Lovely post and the camilla is amazing. I also see we are thinking very much alike on this topic! ;)

S x

Jennifer said...

I would have gasped too! I always do when something is growing or blooming unexpectedly. I feel the same about spring; it's so exciting when it really and truly arrives. I can definitely see parallels between waiting for spring and waiting for babies. Two weeks late, bless you. They were well worth the wait.

Kate Eastwood said...

Lovely Gillian, and I love the way you linked your post about buds and new life to expecting your children. There is no other time quite like those precious days waiting for your new arrival , one of the , infact probably the best, of lifes surprises. And I agree with you about the uplift of spirits when realising Spring has sprung.
Thank you, I have really enjoyed reading the colour collaborative posts today.
My favourite Spring colour at the moment ... green !
Have a good day,
Kate x

A Little Blue Dragonfly said...

Dreamily gorgeous! And I gasp to myself, too. :)

Amy at love made my home said...

Your camellia is beautiful! Now it is flowering I am sure that it will be with you for many many years to come. It is so interesting to read your take on the topics for this each month and how you look at things sort of from the side, not straight on towards the obvious. xx

Chrissie said...

Congratulations! Those blooms look worth the wait, stunning! And the soft pink is beautiful against that deep green...Chrissie x

Annie @ knitsofacto said...

I'd forgotten that poem! What a perfect analogy you (and Plath) draw. And a camelia! You are lucky ... mine was 5 years in the ground before it flowered and it died three years after that ... I do hope yours fares better.

I'm another who gasps to myself ... when it's totally involuntary I think it must be felt most :)

Christina said...

I didn't know this poem but I am going to look it up. I wonder if it is in the Sylvia Plath poetry collection I gave to my husband... Lovely words and lovely photos, Gillian. I love camellias but I am not sure if our climate would support one. Cx

amanda peters said...

Beautiful.....

Josie said...

Thank you so much for this beautiful post, I have thoroughly enjoyed my little visit to your lovely blog x

Charmaine Beaumont-Rixen said...

gorgeous post Gillian, and that flower is so very beautiful! x

Sarah said...

Ooh, it's always nice when you plant something and it finally rewards you with buds and blooms. And you've captured spring in your list of little, lovely things we all look forward to.
As for late arrivals... my little one took his time too. He was, of course, well worth the wait :)
Good to join in with this month's Colour Collaborative.
Sarah x

SaraJ said...

Such a thoughtful post. Thanks for sharing. Loving your camelia too. Their flowers are one of my favourites in Spring. Sadly my garden is too exposed to grow them. I tried, but no success. There isn't a sheltered spot anywhere! X

Jacqui Galloway said...

Your Camelia is beautiful. Blushing Pink!
Jacqui xx

Jennifer said...

Beautiful Camelia and beautiful words. Living in Sweden, there's a long wait for that feeling of "spring is in the air"... but soon it will finally be here - the first day of spring... Jx

Jacqueline said...

I have a camellia in a tub which has been in bloom since christmas and still has lots of new buds on it. Last year it had very few buds. Yours, is such a beautiful colour with really lovely blooms.
Spring is just the best, everyday new shoots seem to pop out of the ground and after all the horrid rain we've had, they seem to be thriving.

Ladybird Diaries said...

Beautiful camellia, it is such a pleasure when something you have planted and nurtured finally grows. Gorgeous post Gillian.
Marianne x

The Creative Academic said...

Your camellia is beautiful Gillian. Our is in bud but not out yet...strange as we're so close! I guess it's the direction mine faces that it's a bit later...It really is exciting when something you've planted and waited for finally blooms. I have a peony that I'm hoping will do well this year.
xx

Anonymous said...

Beautiful Gillian - glad that you were finally rewarded for your patience! We don't see a lot of camellias here, but they look very similar to peonies, which I have one of. They are supposed to be sort of fickle, but I transplanted one and didn't give it any extra attention, and it surprised me with several beautiful buds the first year.

Julia said...

What a gorgeous camellia! It's one of my favorites flowers. I really wish I had one in my yard. Your nail polish color is really pretty, too! Happy weekend!

love those cupcakes said...

Lovely pictures of one of my favourite shrubs (we have one here which is covered in fat buds). Yes, spring is full of promise though I have to admit I'm more welcoming of the signs and smells of autumn on the way.

Caroline South said...

I love camelias, they remind me of my nan as she always had lots in her garden. Yours is such a beautiful colour! xx

Emily said...

Lovely words and photos, Gillian! Your camelia is beautiful...I'm so happy that you were rewarded for your patience!
I'm still waiting (maybe not so patiently anymore) for our first signs of spring.

Kate-Em said...

Beautiful description of the buds. Lovely.

elaine said...

It is so sad that the blooms are short lived but beautiful while they last. I have one similar to yours that flowers every year- the other a dark red hasn't flowered at all yet - maybe one day.

pandchintz said...

This year, after our very hot Summer, I'm welcoming Autumn with open arms and very ready to cosy down into Winter; what a difference a hemisphere makes! Beautiful camellia. Enjoy your Spring.